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I've been following the events in the Ukraine with interest, but no particular expertise. I'm half-European, and have decent knowledge of the history and current socio-political dynamics. I've been impressed by the Maidan protests - sustaining an action like that for months, through a Ukrainian winter, with minimal violence, takes determination, solidarity, and organization.

The events of the last few days have been fascinating, as well as the discussions on DK and elsewhere. There's a complex interplay of dynamics, a variety of perspectives, and it's hard to get perspective on what's actually happening, and who's doing what. That's unsurprising, because Popular Uprisings/Revolutions are Messy - there are unintended consequences, alliances develop and disintegrate, actions and events create opportunities and setbacks, and groups and individuals act without full knowledge of the current circumstances, nor the possible outcomes.

Which is why I'm always leery of people who call for revolution. There are many good reasons to engage in peaceful protest, here and around the world, and we have excellent historical examples of successful and unsuccessful large-scale actions, movements, protests, and revolutions to learn from. The Occupy Movement is the most recent example of a large-scale action in the US, and the lessons learned there will strongly influence the next large-scale action in the US.

I'm leery of people who call for revolution because there are never perfect outcomes. Any large-scale popular movement is going to have unintended and unanticipated effects. I don't trust leaders who say they know how things are going to turn out, and I don't trust people who say that revolution is the solution. I work for the good as I can, support causes and ally myself with others as much as possible, but I never have confidence that the effect of my actions is going to be perfectly what I intended. The more people involved, the greater the chaos factor.

Ukraine's Euromaidan movement went a hell of a lot further than the US Occupy movement. I don't have enough knowledge of either to do an analysis of the similarities and differences between the two, but a core similarity seems to be that both were long-term protests with strong popular support, and a core difference is that Euromaidan focussed more on specific political demands, and was more open to alliances with specific political groups.

I've been surprised by the negative reaction to what's now apparently being called the Ukrainian Revolution by some commenters on DK, because from my perspective, this is what popular uprisings/revolutions look like. There certainly are legitimate reasons to critique the statements and actions of the various entities at play here, including the various Ukrainian groups, and the EU, the US, and Russia. But I feel that the core energy driving the Euromaidan movement are the actions, determination and commitment of the Ukrainians involved, and those supporting them. They held strong through the winter against repressive government actions, including riot police, snipers, and arrests, tortures, and harassment of individuals, leaders, and journalists. That's pretty amazing, and inspirational!

Obviously, there has been US and EU influence - both have historical and diplomatic ties to the Ukraine. As far as I can tell, the criticism of the US involvement is based on funding pro-democracy groups in the Ukraine, and conversations between the US embassy and opposition leaders. Both are unsurprising, from my perspective, although I haven't seen much specific information about either (yes, I've listened to Victoria Nuland's recording - I'd love to see detailed analysis of both. US diplomacy is primarily based on protecting US interests - maintaining relationships with opposition groups, and influencing political outcomes is part of that.

I believe that US involvement in funding pro-democracy groups has contributed to the effectiveness of Euromaidan (as has Occupy). Analzying/quantifying the significance of US involvement is pretty much impossible at this point, but I don't think it's the dominant factor. Nor do I see it as particularly sinister - I like it a hell of a lot better than the Strongman policy, where the US supported leaders like Pinochet. I also believe that US involvement in current Ukrainian politics is and has factored in likely Russian responses (including military action). To the extent that the US is involved, they would want to encourage as stable a transition as possible, primarily to minimize the Russian response.

Since Russian troops began occupying Crimea, there's been minimal violence. Granted, that could change at any time, and armed conflict could quickly escalate. My interpretation is that Putin wants to negotiate with the Ukraine from a position of strength, by occupying Crimea. The absence of military violence so far suggests to me the both Russia and the Ukraine would prefer a negotiated outcome to a violent one.

There's a lot of noise right now about possible military action by the US or other outside parties. I feel there's almost no possibility of that, outside of a large-scale invasion of the Ukraine by Russia (and little possibility then). Russia's limited incursion into Georgia sets a precedent for their so-far limited incursion into Crimea.

One thing I've been missing on DK so far is accounts by people who are close to the situation - Ukrainians, and people with close connections to the Ukraine - I'd love to hear your thoughts!

So hell, I'm not claiming that my position/interpretation is right, but I did want to contribute to the discussion - looking forward to hearing your thoughts. I'm especially interested in hearing about good sources for accurate news and reporting on the situation, particularly from within the Ukraine.

Updated with links from commenters:
ORGANISING EUROMAIDAN. THE BIGGEST PROTEST IN UKRAINE’S RECENT HISTORY

CrossTalk: Crimean Crucible (great guests!)

Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many?

Ukraine in Context: What You Don't Know About a New Cold War

Pierre Omidyar co-funded Ukraine revolution groups with US government, documents show

Ukraine Transition Government: Neo-Nazis in Control of Armed Forces, National Security, Economy, Justice and Education

And for those who are curious about where I get my information, I don't watch tv. I follow bbc.co.uk, guardiannews.com, and a smattering of others, including slate and salon, as well as links and diaries on DK.

Originally posted to erratic on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 02:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great diary. A minor point about lack of (18+ / 0-)

    violence. Ukrainians don't want to be the first to fire shots b/c they know their army will lose a full-scale war. Russians don't want to be the first b/c it will make them look even worse than they already do. Moreover, they've been pretty successful in taking over Crimea without shooting anyone. But that doesn't mean that shots will never be fired and an actual war won't start.

    •  Thanks! (13+ / 0-)

      And I agree with your take on the lack of violence. Another factor is that Crimea depends on mainland Ukraine for power and water:

      Vladimir Putin is miscalculating how easy it will be to control a Crimean mini-state

      Most of the Crimea is basically a desert, with less annual rainfall than Los Angeles. It is impossible to sustain its 2 million people—including agriculture and the substantial tourist industry—without Ukrainian water. Current supplies aren’t even enough. In Sevastopol, home of the Black Sea Fleet, households get water only on certain days. In fact, on Feb. 19, when snipers were shooting protesters on the streets of Kiev, Sevastopol applied for $34 million in Western aid (note the irony) to improve its water and sewer systems.
      The Crimea’s dependence on Ukraine for nearly all of it electricity makes it equally vulnerable to nonviolent retaliation. One suggestion making the rounds of the Ukrainian Internet is that the mainland, with warning, shut off the power for 15 minutes. It may not normalize the situation, but it could give Moscow pause. Of course, Russia could retaliate by cutting off Ukrainian gas supplies, but that would mean cutting off much of Europe as well. Besides, Ukrainians proved this winter that they aren’t afraid of the cold, and spring is coming.

      So, while Vladimir Putin rattles his sabers, the authorities in Kiev might decide to just hold tight, for now. If Yanukovych destroyed his own power, he may very well destroy Putin’s as well. The fugitive ex-president, whose greed extended deep into the peninsula, isn’t a popular figure there either and any efforts to install him—especially if they bring real hardship to the locals—may spark a Maidan II.

      It's likely that Putin has factored this into his decisions. He either needs a negotiated settlement with the Ukraine, or needs to take enough of mainland Ukraine to keep Crimea's lights on and taps flowing. The latter action would risk significantly destabilizing the infrastructure that Crimea depends on, and would be a soft target for insurgents/rebels/freedom fighters...
  •  This is a great diary (16+ / 0-)

    and there's not a lot to add really.  I do find it curious that a site that was supportive of Occupy is so strongly opposed to the Ukrainian protests.  As has been noted elsewhere, they resulted in the impeachment of a hopelessly corrupt president by the duly elected legislature that has that authority (so far as I know.  I'm hardly an expert on Ukrainian constitutional law!)

    I think it is also fascinating that there seems to be little denunciation here of the idea of Russia essentially invading a neighboring country.  It appears that there's a block that seems to feel such conduct is acceptable providing it isn't the US doing the invading.  

    Altogether it makes for a very revealing portrait of the dailykos community

    •  Thanks, Mindful Nature! (6+ / 0-)

      Turns out discussions on DK are messy too...

    •  for crying out loud... (6+ / 0-)

      there is a diary (thankfully it did not make it to the reclist) pretty much blaming the US for the whole debacle and generally looking like it was copy-and-pasted from rt.com, but no, it was actually written by a rather conspicuous diarist...

    •  The ppl you mention are like Cold Warriors. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fcvaguy, dinazina

      They started out with a set of principles that led them to a certain geopolitical agenda, one based around checking the influence of a superpower.

      But, like their Cold War brethren, they then allowed that geopolitical agenda to take over their thinking, swamping any other principles or values.

      That's how would-be defenders of democracy ended up supporting death squads in Central America, and it's how would-be liberationist, justice-seeking liberals ended up shilling for Putin.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:37:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This (0+ / 0-)
      It appears that there's a block that seems to feel such conduct is acceptable providing it isn't the US doing the invading.  
      I have found that deeply disappointing about dkos in all this.  But it's front pagers and Markos himself setting the tone, denouncing American hypocrisy in denouncing the invasion and pretty much giving a pass on the invasion.  

      When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

      by Sun dog on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:50:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sun dog -- markos is siding with putin in this??? (0+ / 0-)

        wow. didn't know that. very disappointing.

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

        by bluezen on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:39:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Very much agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erratic, fcvaguy

      with both the complement you give to the diary and to the reaction here.

      I speak Russian, know something of their history, and I do think there is an ethnic dimension here.  

      But like the diarist I can't claim to know what is going to happen.

      Good diary.  Good comment.

    •  No right to revolution (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluezen

      I was reading a right wing newsletter that I get for some reason and in a long blather about the Tea Party it said something interesting - that the current left believes that there is no right to revolution - at least not once democracy has been established.

      This thread more or less proves that is the case. No matter how despicable a democratically elected president is - the people should have to wait out his term or use other electoral means to thwart him. Matching in the streets, and even violence, are never allowed.

  •  Yes. If it's real, it's going to be a mess. A year (8+ / 0-)

    or two or three after the fact, there will be nice, neat analyses of various cherry-picked sequences of events that will try to show how simple it really was. Fifty years after the fact, someone will write in-depth to display the inherently chaotic can of worms out of which some outcome finally emerged.

    In the meantime, there will be diaries. Pro and con every conceivable possible and impossible aspect of the situation. Each of them contributes something to the discussion. That said, my preference is for diaries that accept, no matter what their take on the situation, that we don't know enough yet to come to many solid conclusions.

    Tipped and recced.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:33:15 PM PST

  •  Fomenting 'popular' uprisings are messy. n/t (3+ / 0-)

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:34:46 PM PST

    •  So corruption and violence (7+ / 0-)

      against protesters has not energized resistance by people in Ukraine? It's somehow all faked by outside forces?

      •  To think that the U.S. and its Clients haven't (12+ / 0-)

        been involved in fomenting the overthrow of a democratically elected head of state in Ukraine is to ignore the past 60 years of U.S history.

        From Common Dreams:

        Nuland was recorded as saying: “Yats is the guy. He’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy you know. … Yats will need all the help he can get to stave off collapse in the ex-Soviet state. He has warned there is an urgent need for unpopular cutting of subsidies and social payments before Ukraine can improve.”

        And guess what. The stopgap government formed after the coup designated Nuland’s guy Yats, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, prime minister! What luck! Yats is 39 and has served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister. And, as designated pinch-hitter-prime-minister, he has already talked about the overriding need for “responsible government,” one willing to commit “political suicide,” as he put it, by taking unpopular social measures.

        Ukraine is simply another target for Western dominance and neoliberal economic Austerity policies.  A major faction of Ukraine's Predator Elite is aligned to the U.S. / Client States' Predator Elite and both desire to impose Austerity and economically liquidate Ukraine.

        The U.S., from a military perspective, then gains yet a closer foothold from which to operate in the Russian sphere.  Toss in the fact of Ukraine's pipelines from Russia, and you have the icing on the cake.

        The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

        by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:17:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, that's an interesting article. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnathan Ivan, chuckvw

          Good to get Ray McGovern's perspective, and a lot of interesting quotes.

          •  Glad to be of help.. here's a few more: (7+ / 0-)

            CD: Ukraine in Context...

            One last point, that so-called economic partnership that Yanukovych, the elected president of Ukraine did not sign, and that set off the streets - the protests in the streets in November, which led to this violence in and confrontation today, that so-called economic agreement included military clauses which said that Ukraine by signing this so called civilization agreement had to abide by NATO military policy. This is what this is about from the Russian point of view, the ongoing western march towards post Soviet Russia.
            It is .. I can't put it in words.. it's beyond linguistic description how I feel regarding the willful blindness - even on this site - to recognize what is happening in Ukraine for what it is.

            I could understand if the U.S. Empire didn't have a 60+ year bloody history of Real Politik / advancing its economic and military interests, Democracy be damned.

            But in the context of history.. how the U.S. has acted (and it has nothing to do with "Freedom" or "Democracy", many times just the opposite).. Ukraine seems pretty fking easy to figure out.

            Yet many folks will simply regurgitate the Putin = Bad, Obama / U.S. = Good lines, refusing to recognize what is right in front of their faces.  

            This despite recordings of our Ambassador discussing the coup before it happened.  Er, I mean "popular" Freedom-loving, led by an Austerity Bankster, "uprising".

            The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

            by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:51:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks! (4+ / 0-)

              I had to step out for a bit. I hadn't read about the "NATO clause" in the EU agreement, but had heard about the "Russia exclusion" clause. Both are quite provocative, and an overreach by the EU. Have you seen other references to the NATO clause? I didn't see anything in the Wikipedia article on the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement

              And fwiw, I'm not seeing this as "Putin = Bad, Obama / U.S. = Good". Speaking broadly, I do see this as a conflict between competing "spheres of influence" - EU/US and Russia, and I will confess a preference for the former brand, vs the latter.

              •  Yw - here's another citation from Dec 2013: (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Alhambra, Wolf10, erratic, fabucat, native

                Huffpost Article.

                PS:  I used to have an innate preference for Western Power expansion.. however, I no longer automatically desire such an outcome.  I believe it will be crucial that the Western Empire be checked at some point, to stop its orgy of destruction & austerity being carried out on behalf of its Predator Elite policy masters.

                The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

                by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:46:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  More good information... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Johnathan Ivan, native
                  While NATO is not specifically mentioned in the draft of the "Association Agreement," the proposal, which was posted online (and translated to English here) by the Ukrainian cabinet in August, pledges convergence of foreign and security policy.

                  Read: NATO expansion.

                  For instance, in the draft of the Agreement, foreign and security policy mandates:

                  "The Parties shall explore the potential of military and technological cooperation. Ukraine and the European Defence Agency (EDA) will establish close contacts to discuss military capability improvement, including technological issues."
                  The draft of the Agreement's preamble links Ukraine to "ever closer convergence of positions on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest" including the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) -- which underscores the military nature of the agreement.

                  Since 22 of 28 members of the EU have NATO membership, there is little doubt that Ukraine is being drawn into the broad military arrangement with EU nations.

            •  Regarding NATO (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              erratic

              Your blockquote and specifically the reference to NATO is an extrapolation of the actual facts. The draft agreement doesn't even mention the word "NATO":

              As an EU deal appears imminent, few people are asking questions about NATO's role in the deal, which was meant to facilitate jobs and trade. Economic conditions in Ukraine are dire: $15 billion in IMF loans suspended, danger of default and a zero growth forecast.

              While NATO is not specifically mentioned in the draft of the 'Association Agreement', the proposal, which was posted online by the Ukrainian cabinet in August, pledges convergence of foreign and security policy.

              Read: NATO expansion.

              For instance, in the draft of the Agreement, foreign and security policy mandates: 'The Parties shall explore the potential of military and technological cooperation. Ukraine and the European Defence Agency (EDA) will establish close contacts to discuss military capability improvement, including technological issues.'

              The draft of the Agreement's preamble links Ukraine to 'ever closer convergence of positions on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest' including the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) - which underscores the military nature of the agreement.

              http://www.twnside.org.sg/...

              KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

              by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:49:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  so you say (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TXdem, erratic, fabucat, fcvaguy
          Ukraine is simply another target for Western dominance and neoliberal economic Austerity policies.  A major faction of Ukraine's Predator Elite is aligned to the U.S. / Client States' Predator Elite and both desire to impose Austerity and economically liquidate Ukraine.
          That is, as opposed to the "President" and "Prosecutor General", bandits, whose tasteless palaces were recently exposed to the public?
          •  Just because one side are bandits... (5+ / 0-)

            ...doesn't automatically mean the other side are the good guys.

            This is not a Saturday morning cartoon where the bad guy is clearly identified as the ugliest character around.

            The US has a history of subverting democratically elected governments. Popular governments have been brought down, bringing down an unpopular government should be easier still.

            •  responding to the previous comment (0+ / 0-)

              how much more 'predatory' do you get ?

              •  Ah, well if you really want to see Predatory, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                erratic, Judgment at Nuremberg

                look no further than the American Predator Elite, with their palaces and untold fortunes - that make Ukraine's bandits look like purse snatchers, by comparison.

                Hell, our Predator Elites are perfectly willing to destroy entire countries in their pursuit of global domination (Iraq? Syria? Libya? Iran? etc.)?

                There's Predators.. and then there's predators.

                And gee, America wasn't worried about Palaces when we were supporting Iraq in the 80's and giving them support to  launch a horribly war with Iran (a former Client state.. whose Shah, I imagine, had quite the collection of "palaces" and $$).

                The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

                by Johnathan Ivan on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 09:01:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  you know (0+ / 0-)

                  At some point this berkeley-style left-wing-nuttery is becoming quite annoying even to fellow liberals.

                  You know, I have not seen American or European predator elite, in government or in business, take over small businesses left and right quite yet. I see the rule of law and the institutions largely working in EU and US.

                  When the institutions are not working, there is no point in talking about 'democratically elected President'. Yanukovych is not Bush, who half the country didn't like but said, well, he's elected so, next time. Because we knew there would be a next time.

                  Not to mention - goddamn, the TASTE! The TASTE! Yanuk's tasteless house itself is a crime against humanity.

                  •  Rule of Law? (0+ / 0-)
                    You know, I have not seen American or European predator elite, in government or in business, take over small businesses left and right quite yet. I see the rule of law and the institutions largely working in EU and US.
                    Of course it's legal when Western Powers do it.  All the i's are dotted, t's crossed.

                    But people still die in the end.  And resources are still plundered.

                    Bottom line:  The American Elite - who are driving our foreign policies - couldn't give two shits about the people of Ukraine, or people anywhere for that matter.  All the talk of Democracy, Freedom, and "respecting the people's rights" is nothing more than a smokescreen of bullshit to distract from their own policies of subjugation and exploitation.

                    And why not?  They have a ready cadre of both D & R eager to support such policies.  Odd that the same policies get advanced, no matter what.  What a lucky coincidence for the Western Predator Elite, eh?

                    Oh - and as for real nuttery:  The inability to recognize Real Politik when it's staring you right in the face and an inability to actually consider the past 60 years of American History.  Now that right there's some real nuttery.

                    'Merika!  #1!  #1.  Baad Putin!  Bad Russia!

                    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

                    by Johnathan Ivan on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:43:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  look dude (0+ / 0-)

                      let me rephrase without all this grand stuff.

                      let's assume i am a small businessman in Kiev (Zhytomyr, Lviv, etc). I have a choice that tomorrow I will wake up in a town of my size that is in

                      a) Russia
                      b) EU

                      All things being equal (I speak the language, my neighbors are the same, etc)

                      which one do I choose?

                      In other words

                      All those people trying to get into the US or EU...

                      Who the fuck is trying to get into Russia?

                      •  Yanukovych _was_ trying to get into the EU (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Johnathan Ivan

                        According to this Reuters report:

                        http://www.reuters.com/...
                         it was Yanukovych who was fighting for closer ties with the EU.

                        And yet he turned away from the EU.

                        I'm sure Putin put pressure for him to turn away. However, the EU also did its part, by offering austerity packages similar to the ones offered to Greece and Spain, by insisting Ukraine open its markets to EU but forbidding Ukrainian business to enter the EU, and demanded Ukraine join/ abide by/ be controlled by NATO.

                        The effect would be similar to turning Ukraine into a  Cold-War divided Berlin.

                        From Russia's POV, this was probably the beginning of a slippery slope towards a situation similar to the Cuban missile crisis, only in reverse; instead of the Warsaw pact putting missiles in Cuba, it was NATO putting missiles in Ukraine. That's probably why Putin put the pressure on Yanukovyich

                        (wow, I'm just not writing well today)

                        Anyway, my main point was, yes, indeed, people were trying to join the EU, including Yanukovyich.

                        BTW, Russia got a taste of what the West offered, during the Yeltsin era, and I think they found it terrible.

                        As many here have pointed out, the US is no angel. It has committed atrocities, destroyed democracies, propped up dictators,et., etc. Yet, at least during the Cold War, life was better in the US, and in the West. There was real freedom in the West. There was economic growth in the West. Skyscrapers bloom in America, Cadillacs zoom in America, industry bloom in America... 12 in a room in America.

                        However, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the US seems to be hell-bent on becoming the new SU. For example insisting that there's no right to privacy. This line of attack even extended to popular entertainment. I remember conservative Fred Thompson, playing conservative DA Arthur Branch in the popular series "Law and Order" taking down a plaque of the Bill of Rights from the law to dare his ADA to find the right of privacy there. Or something like that (darn old age memory!).

                        I guess it's the old adage again, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Or maybe its more like the "rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas lights"  thing. When there's no need to be nice, hat's when we see the real traits of the US in particular, and the EU in general.

          •  We send American jobs, arms and capital to (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erratic, congenitalefty, fabucat, native

            regimes that are much, much worse all the time, as long as it serves our own economic elites.

            By bringing more nations into our political sphere of influence and having them adopt our particular form of the so-called free market, which may well not be appropriate or advantageous to them in their particular circumstances, they can be become new profit centers primarily for Western banks and multinational corporations.

            Fomenting or enhancing democracy or good governance has precious little to do with U.S. policies abroad or even here in the U.S. for that matter. Capitalism without democracy at home and abroad is the preference of the plutocrats who own most of everything including our politicians.

            The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

            by Wolf10 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 04:02:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm glad I don't subscribe to a worldview (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, erratic, fcvaguy

          that rejects people's agency or insults it as lacking integrity.

        •  This is certainly dismissive (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erratic, Dr Swig Mcjigger

          of the Ukrainian peoples' own aspirations and courage.

          KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

          by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:51:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, it's a recognition that the U.S. is using (3+ / 0-)

            those aspirations - and encouraging them - for its own ends, not to the benefit of the Ukrainian people.

            What about the "aspirations" of the Venezuelans?  Or the Iranians under the Shah?  Or Iraq under Saddam (back when he was "our" dictator)?

            Or Libya?  

            The U.S. doesn't give a damn, it's about power and expanding Empire.

            The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

            by Johnathan Ivan on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 09:03:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you believe (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              native

              that US subversion put 800,000 people on the streets of Kiev since Nov 13, through the dead of Winter?

              Do you have absolute evidence that US subversion was the primary cause for that overwhelming popular outcry?

              What about the "aspirations" of the Venezuelans?  Or the Iranians under the Shah?  Or Iraq under Saddam (back when he was "our" dictator)?

              Or Libya?  

              The U.S. doesn't give a damn, it's about power and expanding Empire.

              Youi realize this is an ad hominem argument?

              Yanukovich entered office as a lower middle class man and left as a multi-millionaire oligarch, having ripped off the Ukrainian people. Do you think making enriching Yanukovich was part of the US's subversion strategy?

              Yanukovich re-wrote the Constitution, enabling him to become an autocrat. Do you think the US helped make that happen as part of a subversion strategy?

              70 people were murdered by Yanukovich's strong arm. Also part of the US subversion strategy?

              A Democratically elected parliament impeached him UNANIMOUSLY, including members of his own party? Do you believe that was also part of the US's subvesion strategy?

              There's not much logic in your argument and the evidence supporting it is very thin.

              KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

              by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:38:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  It's sad to me that some "progressives" have (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bluezen

              such a dim and patronizing view of non American and especially non-white peoples.

              If you're Venezuelan or Iranian or Ukrainian you're just a peasant who has no aspirations of his or her own and because of your simple nature you can't help but be swayed by CIA propaganda about how your peaceful and benevolent authoritarian leader isn't that great for you.

              I'm not talking about the Shah or Saddam, but Libya? Libya was great under Khaddafi? Ukraine was great under a kleptocratic ruler who has his police shoot protesters in the head?

              Even non-Americans have rights and hopes and dreams. For all the supposed care about brown people being killed by drone strikes, you'd think that self-proclaimed progressives would give them a little credit for wanting to better their lives.

              When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

              by PhillyJeff on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:58:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Who is thinking this here? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fcvaguy

          I don't see anyone stating that the US is 100% pure with respect to supporting Democracy and perfectly consistent in its stands around the globe over the years.

    •  So was Occupy formented? (10+ / 0-)

      Who decides what is a "popular uprising"?

  •  Really no comparison between Occupy and Maidan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK, native

    uprising.  None whatsoever. Specious comparison

    •  Care to elaborate? (0+ / 0-)

      I really don't know much about Euromaidan's internal structure or how it's organized. I'm interested in an analysis.

      •  here is a descriptive piece (6+ / 0-)

        a few first person voices.

        http://casajurnalistului.ro/...

        •  Interesting link (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erratic, fcvaguy

          It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

          by chuckvw on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:16:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks Whizdom! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          whizdom

          Very interesting.

        •  Holy shit. The fascists are running security? (4+ / 0-)

          Oh man, nice link.  I was wondering who was throwing those Molotov cocktails at the Ukrainian cops.

          Svoboda from the link is handling security and controlling the overall protest????

          Be careful what you wish for.  

          http://www.alternet.org/...

          One of the “Big Three” political parties behind the protests is the ultra-nationalist Svoboda, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has called for the liberation of his country from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” After the 2010 conviction of the Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for his supporting role in the death of nearly 30,000 people at the Sobibor camp, Tyahnybok rushed to Germany to declare him a hero who was “fighting for truth.” In the Ukrainian parliament, where Svoboda holds an unprecedented 37 seats, Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is fond of quoting Joseph Goebbels – he has even founded a think tank originally called “the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center.” According to Per Anders Rudling, a leading academic expert on European neo-fascism, the self-described “socialist nationalist” Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector.

          Right Sector is a shadowy syndicate of self-described “autonomous nationalists” identified by their skinhead style of dress, ascetic lifestyle, and fascination with street violence. Armed with riot shields and clubs, the group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euromaidan battles this month, filling the air with their signature chant: “Ukraine above all!” In a recent Right Sector propaganda video [embedded at the bottom of this article], the group promised to fight “against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, for traditional national morality and family values.” With Svoboda linked to a constellation of international neo-fascist parties through the Alliance of European National Movements, Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on “a great European Reconquest.”

          Svoboda’s openly pro-Nazi politics have not deterred Senator John McCain from addressing a EuroMaidan rally alongside Tyahnybok, nor did it prevent Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland from enjoying a friendly meeting with the Svoboda leader this February. Eager to fend off accusations of anti-Semitism, the Svoboda leader recently hosted the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine. “I would like to ask Israelis to also respect our patriotic feelings,” Tyahnybok has remarked. “Probably each party in the [Israeli] Knesset is nationalist. With God’s help, let it be this way for us too.”

          •  Did those fascists arrange to have opposition (0+ / 0-)

            snipers dress up in police uniforms and shoot their own protesters in the streets?

            Vladimir is this you? Put a shirt on dude.

            When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

            by PhillyJeff on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:00:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  True. Maidan was popular. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judge Moonbox, TXdem, fcvaguy, erratic

      And effective.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:31:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, no comparison (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluezen

      President Obama didn't have snipers shoot Occupy protesters in the streets.

      But he's an evil bankster dictator wall street corporatist etc while Ukrainian leaders were brave progressives standing up to US Imperialism . . .

      Or something.

      When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

      by PhillyJeff on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:59:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Half-European, eh? YOU MEAN LIKE RUSSIA?!? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, debedb

    Just so you know, I'm doing that two-fingered eyes-to-eyes "I'm watching you, buddy" gesture right now.

    ;-)

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:31:00 PM PST

  •  There is an excellent discussion (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, erratic, fabucat, native

    of the current situation in Ukraine on RT featured on The Saker's blog.
    Yes, regime change can be messy. We never seem to learn.

    Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

    by truong son traveler on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:53:40 PM PST

  •  I have posted elsewhere (10+ / 0-)

    Since I am from Odessa and talked to several people there.  Some thoughts:
    - Yanukovich was legitimately elected president.  I understand the shocking degree of his corruption.  Yet overthrowng a legitimately elected president leaves bad taste in my mouth.
    - If you leave Yanukovich's corruption aside,  Euromaidan is direct opposite of Occupy movement politically.  They are a conglomerate of right-wing and ultra-right-wing parties.  Their platform includes such usual conservative things as ban of abortions and gays, and some more racist, like proportional representation of ethnic Ukrainians in Parliament, and criminal ban on "Ukrainaphobia."  Economically, they have already declared that they will bring LOTS of austerity to Ukraine, including pension cuts other government cuts in order to get IMF loans.
    - At least to me, they seem to mislead people as far as EU membership.  I just do not see the scenario under which Ukraine joins EU and Eurozone.  People say, well, maybe in 20 years.  But that's what they said 20 years ago :-)  Absent that, what is the point then?
    - Like Canada will always be in the shadow of US, Ukraine will always be in the shadow of Russia.  This is just geographic reality.  They have to figure out the way to deal with it.
    - Ukraine may yet fall apart. So what?  There is another country that is on the brink of split in Europe right now.  Yes, I am talking about Scottish independence.  Yet no one seems hysterical about it.  Check republic and Slovakia split quite peacefully.  I do not see anything horrible if Ukraine will split into Eastern and Western Ukraine. Peacefully.

    •  The beginning of the crisis (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erratic, DavidMS, TXdem, fcvaguy

      was apparently a political disagreement over backing out of the proposed agreement on EU integration. That is a divisive issue. However the final straw appears to have been the attempt to clamp down protest by repressive legislation and even deadly force against protesters.

      Splitting the country may indeed not be a disaster in the end but the way it is coming about is coercive and may yet devolve into more violence.

      If Ukraine were in NATO there would be a full-scale shooting war now. As it is though, no one is going to help them militarily.

    •  Thanks, eskisov! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DavidMS, TXdem, fabucat, native

      I am aware that right-wing groups like Svoboda are active in Euormaidan, and I agree that that is problematic. However, it's my understanding that they're a minority in the movement - do you have information that shows otherwise?

    •  It's not obvious (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, erratic, native

      whether to call the pro-EU/Ukraine side Right, or whether the pro-Russian side is Right.  Or Left.

      They're both nationalists, basically.  With all the narrow mindedness and grievance that implies.

      When countries get into situations where their whole condition is changed, there is a usual process.  Which is that people elect the viable party farthest to the right, usually Rightists/nationalists first (reactionaries having sided with the previous regime), and over time (decades) voters vote in progressively center Right, centrist, center Left, Leftist, and finally liberal government.  

      In Moldova they haven't joined the EU yet.  (Transnistria is the key problem.)  But much of the population got Romanian/EU passports and they do have government with rule of law and obedience to a constitution now, more or less, and government is now no longer the major obstacle to improvement of quality of life.  Which it was under the previous regime.  They get some subsidies from Romania and the EU and quality of life seems to be improving.  At least my local megachurch no longer sends childrens' clothing and such there; the need has disappeared.

    •  More Tea Party than Occupy Wall Street. nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judgment at Nuremberg

      The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

      by Wolf10 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 04:06:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Guardian quoted a Ukrainian supporter (4+ / 0-)

      of Yanukovich to the effect that: He may be crooked. He may be incompetent. He may be acting badly. But we picked him. He's our President.

    •  Hi eskhisov (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Swig Mcjigger

      Maybe you can answer some questions:

      1) Yanukovich was indeed democratically elected. Did he not unilaterally rewrite the Ukraine constitution to allow himself more power and dilute the powers of Parliament? Do you believe the Parliament was legitimately elected? And, did Parliament not vote to impeach Yanukovich unanimously, including members of Yanukovich's own party?

      2) in the current interim government, can you identify the members of that government who are part of Svoboda or any other right wing party?

      3) When Yanukovich ran for President, what was his position on joining the EU?

      4) If Canada stands in the shadow of the US, why after the 2008 depression did Canada's currency gain 30% against the US dollar?

      5) In Scottish Independence movement, are there English troops in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness?

      6) Are the Ukrainian people entitled to the sovereignty of their nation, respect of their borders, and the right to self-determination?

      KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

      by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:02:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Peacefully would seem to be the key (0+ / 0-)

      DO you really see that happening now that Russia has invaded Ukraine. Instead of a peaceful plebiscite, you have national pride ad territorial integrity involved. If you are Ukraine can you really let Russia more or less take half your country - whats to stop them from coming for more later?

  •  Rescued! (4+ / 0-)

    Thanks Rescue Rangers!

  •  I don't know how much the US had to do with (6+ / 0-)

    fomenting the uprising, but I do understand the Russian POV.
       Yanukovich was the elected President and his party, along with the Ukrainian Communist Party, held the majority of the seats in the parliament - by election.
       Yanukovich had been negotiating an association agreement with the EU which, among other things, would have required Ukraine to re-organize its military along NATO lines and cooperate with NATO policy.
       Also, the EU agreement would have opened up Ukraine to the type of IMF-neoliberal control that has been such a help to Greece, Spain, Portugal et al.
      Ukraine owes Russia $1.5 billion for its gas imports.
      Yanukovich decides not to sign the EU agreement and opts instead to join a Russian led free trade zone and accept a proffered $15 billion in Russian aid - instead of a debt restructuring plan from the EU.
       Western backed protesters show up, engage in confrontations with the authorities for a few months, and eventually overthrow the elected President and the constitutional order. They install a rump parliament, which has a significant number of openly fascist (and anti-Russian) members and install a bankster interim President.
      From Putin's POV, this new anti-Russian government threatens to bring a hostile military alliance right up to the Russian border, scares the Russian population of Ukraine, and represents a possible threat to Russia's premier naval base.
      Given the above situation (which is how Putin sees the situation) I would think that moving to take control of Crimea is the minimum we could expect Russia to do to protect its interests.
      In the long run, preventing the use of Ukraine by NATO is absolutely vital to Russian national security. Sanctions by the West are trivial in comparison to that.
      Moreover, a western threat helps shore up Putin's support among Russians.  

    •  US knee deep in Ukrainian coup (4+ / 0-)

      Fully involved in the coup.

      More here.

      Very likely, the coup was prompted by Yanukovych's refusal of IMF austerity measures.  Who could have predicted that Putin would react to neoliberal shock therapy at his border?

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:29:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hard to believe Omidyr was involved.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Subterranean

        I'm open to anything, but this sounds like a twisted conspiracy theory.  

        If this is true, I wonder what folks like Greenwald and Scahill think of their boss' cultural imperialsim.

      •  Thx! The first link is the most detailed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Subterranean, native

        description of US funding of Ukrainian opposition groups I've seen. Greenwald's response is quite interesting as well. Adding a link to the diary.

        I've read wikipedia summaries of the negotiations of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement - it seems like some negotiations were continuing, even after the discussions about signing the agreement had been suspended:
        Ukraine–European Union relations

        On 17 December, Ukraine signed a treaty with Russia under which Russia will buy $15 billion of Ukrainian Eurobonds and the cost of Russian natural gas supplied to Ukraine will be reduced, though Putin stated that "today we have not discussed the issue of Ukraine joining the Customs Union [of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia] at all". Three days later, high ranking EU-officials stated that the EU is still ready to sign the Association Agreement "as soon as Ukraine is ready for it", that the agreement was also beneficial for Russia and that the EU "is totally not concerned about the fact that Ukraine is signing agreements with Russia". On 23 December 2013 Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov stated "there is no contradiction" in Ukraine's association with the EU and their observer status in the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.

        On 20 December 2013 Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) Volodymyr Rybak did not rule out the possibility of signing an Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU without the creation of a free trade area (FTA). On 24 December 2013 Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Leonid Kozhara stated that "at the present time" his Ministry's "and other government agencies' efforts are focused on further negotiations with the EU to provide conditions for implementing the association agreement". He added that "Ukraine will resume the negotiations on this agreement after the holidays" and that the text of the Association Agreement itself would not be changed, but that Ukraine intended to focus on the issues related to its implementation.

        On 15 January 2014 Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov gave an interagency (ministries and other agencies) working group two months to draw up a plan "on conditions of the implementation of the Association Agreement" for negotiations with the EU.

  •  excellent summary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, serendipityisabitch

    I like your focus on the people, and the way you wrote this from the protest standpoint. Its an aspect thats been overlooked here, while some seem to want to focus exclusively on the US role in the way current events in Ukraine have evolved.

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:41:54 AM PST

  •  Gangster (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, waterstreet2013, fabucat

    The way I see it, Putin has been the main player in this and is manipulating the various forces in his favor.  He goaded the Ukrainian president into harsh crackdowns of the protests, not because he didn't understand it would lead to his ouster but specifically because it would.  It's such an old-school move.  The protesters, the guy cracking down on them, everyone involved winds up dancing the way Putin wants so he can be right where he is now.  A position of strength where the world is going to be relieved if he 'only' takes the Crimea.  

    I get that revolution, as you say, is a part of what is happening.  But the fact is that they're probably just getting played in order for a big power to get bigger.  

    When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

    by Sun dog on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:47:23 AM PST

  •  It's hard to put a country together. (4+ / 0-)

    Overthrowing the government seems easy by comparison. The question is, what comes next? It is never easy to create a new order in a huge, divided country facing large economic problems. It becomes even harder if a powerful neighbor is actively trying to sabotage you. This is Ukraine's third revolution in just over 20 years, and each time we see just how difficult it is to solve the multiple problems the country faces and put it on the road to Europe.

    •  Ukraine has a solid constitution and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erratic, bananapouch1

      established political parties.

      They understand democracy.

      Yanukovich and Putin tried to overturn that democracy, throwing opponents in prison and sabotaging information channels. Murdering people as well.

      They're the ones who lost.

      Ukraine's fine, apart from the recent crisis.

      •  Well, Ukraine has a solid constitution now. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erratic, native

        After the 2004 version was restored. Now, that doesn't guarantee full democracy. There need to be free elections, without outside interference. Even then, an issue is the electoral law used to elect the parliament - the current version made it easier for Yanukovych's party to win.

        And apart from the political system, Ukraine's economy is corrupt, and facing a crisis: http://247wallst.com/...

        So it's not hopeless, given that unlike other ex-Soviet nations Ukraine had reasonably functioning democratic institutions, but there is a long way to go.

  •  Euromaidan is pretty much Occupy Kiev. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic

    The model was Occupy Frankfurt (Germany) which developed a comprehensive structure for managing these large scale protests.

    Contacts with police and military organizations eventually proved critical. Those senior management groups put an end to Yanukovich's street thug and Black Shirt police attacks on the Occupy/Euromaiden group.

    Never underestimate management teams. P.E.R.F. introduced O.W.S. to the federal Park Police, which led to getting First Amendment use of the steps at Federal Hall across from NYSE. Help them with crowd management and they'll help you with a wide range of problems.

    On the other hand, politics inside NYPD ran out of control. But even there O.W.S. got commitments to help protect Zuccotti Park from violent right wing attacks, the like of bombings or poisonings.

    Back in Kiev, being willing to die for a cause took the "Occupy" paradigm at Kiev back up to a level that we'd seen with Arab Spring. Expect good things. A first rate election come May, for one.

  •  6 major ministries are held by neofascist members (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, Judgment at Nuremberg

    of the Svoboda Party in the new revolutionary government in Kiev.  Ukraine Transition Government: Neo-Nazis in Control of Armed Forces, National Security, Economy, Justice and Education.

    I would call that more than merely "messy".

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 02:42:08 PM PST

  •  I don't understand how people can on one hand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluezen

    be big supporters of the Occupy Movement and be horrified when Occupiers are pepper sprayed, but on the other hand can dismiss Ukraine (and Venezuela) as 100% CIA funded US orchestrated political coups and brush off people being shot dead in the streets.

    I understand that people are wary of US foreign policy, but I think there's something patronizing about it.

    It's like we Americans know what's going on and we can't possibly be misled by outside interests (cough tea party cough cough) but those silly foreigners just don't know what's good for them, and when the CIA comes calling they just fall in line because they're poor uneducated peasants.

    I'm not a Ukraine expert but Ukrainians have just as much right to not live under a kleptocratic authoritarian president as Americans do.

    When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

    by PhillyJeff on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:54:34 AM PST

  •  The U.S. has Velveeta all over its face. (0+ / 0-)

    The U.S. has Velveeta all over its face.
    Who said: “Nobody ever rioted for austerity!”- George Monbiot?
    Even Time magazine says this is one stupid ‘revolution’
    Ukraine is a basket case. Russia is holding all the cards--including China.
    Just another said sign of how much political, economic, moral clout the U.S. has lost…

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